In search of a happy ending

This football-less Covid era is getting to all of us. A further yawning period of more than two months now stretches before us ahead of the most optimistic date at which the ball might be thrown in to start the 2021 inter-county season. We’ll all be driven bats before then.

Up until last year, all of our lives had a certain cadence throughout the year. Here on the blog it was no different.

The previous year’s highs and lows consigned to the past as the new year dawned and the FBD got going, then the hectic, week-after-week schedule of the League, then a small pause before diving into the Championship and whatever hand fate had to deal us there. Then some final quarter downtime, not forgetting, of course, the near-annual off-field soap opera for which the county became rather infamous.

But that was then. Now there’s no bloody rhythm to the year at all. I find it hard to gauge from week to week what I should be doing on the blog and, with no matches to talk about, I frequently end up doing little or nothing.

Without the games, it’s like we’re caught in an off-season Groundhog Day, albeit one mercifully devoid of any off-field shenanigans. But without match action to pore over, there’s precious little to talk about.

As the saying goes, nature abhors a vacuum. And so into this football-free zone debates have bubbled up here about government policy on Covid and the like, which is understandable but not something I want to see happen. This is a football house, first and foremost (with a small serving of hurling on the side), not a place for political debate. I’d prefer to keep it that way.

So something is needed to fill the gap. I get that. And I’ve got an idea for doing so, which is this.

People have occasionally suggested to me down the years that I should write a book about Mayo GAA and the blog. Well, what I can reveal is that this very idea was put to me some years ago and in the time since I’ve gone a long way down this particular road. 75,000 words down the road, in fact.

The book’s not finished, though, and I fear it never will be. For the very simple reason that, in my view, such a book demands a – or rather the – happy ending and that particular denouement has repeatedly proved elusive.

I was bashing out words like a maniac in the weeks leading up to the 2013 final, the first year I wrote anything on it. Then, in 2016 and again in 2017, I had myself convinced that I was just a few grace notes away from, literally, closing the book.

We were back within seventy minutes of ultimate glory last December too, of course, but, maybe realising at last that my hoped-for happy ending wasn’t ever going to materialise, I didn’t get too exercised about it in advance. Maybe that was because, if the thunderbolt did finally strike, I’d have bags of time to whip the completed title into shape in good time for a 2021 pre-Christmas launch.

Who knows? Maybe that could still happen. Like most GAA supporters, though, beaten down as I am by this never-ending and oh-so-dreary Dublin dominance, I’m not holding my breath.

So if it’s the case that the blasted thing is fated never to see the light of day in finished form, what I’m thinking is that, in this fallow period between now and the start of the inter-county year, it might help to fill the gap if I post a few extracts from it here on the blog.

So that’s what I plan to do, with the first one going up over the weekend. Hopefully it’ll prove of interest to some and may assist in easing the boredom we’re all enduring in these trying times.

15 thoughts on “In search of a happy ending

  1. I can’t wait for it WJ. If your blog is anything to go by, it will be entertaining and informative. And who knows, that happy ending might be just around the corner.

  2. Absolutely amazing idea. I’ll put in a pre-order on Amazon.

    Looking forward to the sneak preview.

  3. I wish you well with the Book Willie Joe..I will certainly buy it and read it if you finish writing it , which I am sure you will… Probably then lend it out to someone, and take my chances of ever getting it back, Currently, I can’t even recall half of the books I have lent out that haven’t yet been returned… But I won’t be buying it from Amazon.. There’s a better chance of me jumping in the Amazon, I think he has enough money as it is… I’ll keep it local and buy from a Mayo book shop, looking forward to it already!

  4. Sounds great, WJ. Will resist suggestions for the Foreword and the Postscript will write itself.

  5. Great stuff as always WJ. If you ever had time would you ever consider a Q & A session on here to fill in some of the time? I am sure there are plenty of questions people would have and love to hear your opinions on. Nothing too harsh. One line questions and one line answers. For instance I have always wondered who you thought was the best player you ever played against?

  6. Looking forward to the book Willie Joe will buy a few of them and send them to several Mayo fans scattered to the four corners of the earth. Had the pleasure of talking to Liam McHale during the week as he went for a run in Beleek probably like the rest of us had to get out of the house and keep sane. He’s still a horse of a man big strong and fit you almost think he could still do a job for Mayo in the engine room How Liam and more Mayo players didn’t win an All Ireland I’ll never know. It’s hard to see the elusive happy ending happening any time soon but hope springs eternal

  7. Really looking forward to seeing those extracts Willie Joe. I really hope that you get to finish it, sooner rather than later.

  8. On another note deepest sympathy to the Irwin and Tuohy family on the death of Christina May she rest In peace. Gabriel was a great servant to Kilcommon and Mayo and his sons look likely to make the breakthrough very soon too. May God comfort them at this sad time.

  9. Thanks for letting everyone know, Backdoorsam – I had heard she was very ill but wasn’t aware that she had passed on. Condolences to all her family at such a sad time. RIP.

  10. I think features on the new emerging players would be great to fill the void. They say Peter Naughton is the makings of a great forward who might get away from us. If like me you live away, you never see these players in club action. It would be great if those that do watch club would provide some insights on their real potential. Love the blog by the way

  11. I am, Mayo88 – just leaving it in abeyance at this stage, waiting and hoping for that long-desired happy ending. I’m a sucker for happy endings!

  12. One is more than enough, Catcol, especially when the ending I want stubbornly refuses to happen and so I can’t finish the bloody thing!

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